NEET-PG Admissions 2021: The admission process to Post-Graduate medical courses through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has been further delayed after the Union government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to revisit the set limit of Rs 8 lakh annual income fixed for determining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category for reservation in NEET admissions for PG courses.Also Read - NEET-PG Counselling 2021: Doctors Express Concern Over Postponement, Call For Nationwide Strike From Tomorrow

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that a committee will be constituted to determine the criteria for EWS and it would take four weeks. Mehta said that NEET (PG) counselling would stand postponed for a further four weeks as per assurance earlier given to the court. Also Read - Will NEET Exams 2022 be Conducted Twice a Year Like CBSE? Ministry of Health to Resume Talks With Education Ministry Soon

The top court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by Students challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) July 29 notice providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent for EWS category in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) admissions for medical courses for the current academic year. Also Read - NEET PG 2021 Latest Update: Amid Delay in NEET PG Counselling Schedule, Students Say Not Received Answer Key, Complain About Discrepancy in Exam

‘States should support Centre’

Justice Kant said that the EWS quota is a very enabling and progressive kind of reservation and all States should support the Centre in its endeavour. The bench said that the only question is that determination of the category should be in a scientific manner and it appreciates that the Centre has taken a decision to revisit the criteria earlier fixed.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for petitioners (students), said since a lot of time has passed and Centre should push back implementation of the EWS quota for the next academic year and the current year counselling should be allowed to go on. The bench agreed with the submission of Datar and asked Mehta whether it could push the implementation of the constitutional amendment for the next academic year and allow the counselling to go on for the current academic year.

Mehta said that the government has taken a decision to implement the 103rd constitutional amendment from the current academic year and pushing back would not be appropriate. He said that if the determination is done earlier than four weeks then it will inform the court. The bench told Datar that four weeks is not unreasonable and it doesn’t want to push the government to do it earlier, otherwise the criteria would be fixed in an unscientific and haphazard manner.

Advocate Shashank Ratnoo, appearing on behalf of some OBC candidates, requested that the application of reservation to OBC students should not be deferred as the Centre is planning to revisit the EWS criteria. The bench said that it has not said anything about OBC students and is not disposing of the petition. It then recorded the submission of Mehta and posted the matter for further hearing on January 6.

(Based on PTI inputs)